Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on April 16, 2008
There’s nothing like a large, dangling money-filled carrot to spur technological advances. At least that’s what the Santa Monica, California-based X PRIZE Foundation is hoping for. The organization has offered “$10 million to the teams that can produce the most production-ready vehicles that get 100 miles per gallon or more,” according to a recent CNN article.
Named the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE – its sponsor is the Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. – the competition is “designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The independent and technology-neutral competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people want to buy, and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance. (via xprise.org)
The competition has two categories — mainstream cars (for four or more passengers) and alternative (two or more) — and the winning team of each will split the $10 million prize.
X PRIZE CEO and Chairman, Dr. Peter Diamandis, is optimistic about the results. “The environmentally friendly technologies created as a result of this competition will affect everyone who drives in ways we can’t even imagine today.” And rightfully so, given that his organization offered (and awarded) $10 million in 2004 to the team who designed space’s first private vehicle launch.
So far, over 60 teams have signed up from nine countries, including Tesla, Aptera, Loremo and a Cornell University team. Clearly, ten million bucks is a great incentive. If only I knew anything about automotive design. And I seriously doubt a crash course will help, since the sign-up cut-off is later this year and the cross-country races that will determine the winners are scheduled for ’09 and ‘10.
Oh well. Looking forward to seeing that $10 million awarded – both for the winners’ sake and for the planet.